Janet Wright, who was best known for her long-running role as Emma Leroy on “Corner Gas”, has died at the age of 71, CTV can confirm.
The award-winning actress starred in the sitcom from 2004 to 2009 and would later reprise the role in the big screen reboot in 2014.
“Janet was like no other person I’ve ever met. She had a giant wit, a giant heart, and was one of the strongest human beings to ever stride around this planet,” said Brent Butt, creator and executive producer of “Corner Gas”. “She was so great to work with. When you looked at the call sheet in the morning, and saw you were doing scenes with Janet, you knew you’d be laughing that day, and probably at something terribly inappropriate. We had this running thing, where if there was a scene with just our characters, I’d write it at the kitchen table, with our characters eating macaroni and cheese. We were both trying to watch our weight, but she said if ‘our characters’ were eating the stuff, it wasn’t really us. I truly, honestly loved her. We all did.”
Born in England in 1945, Wright would later settle with her family in Saskatchewan.
The celebrated theatre star went on to found the Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon in 1974 alongside Brian Richmond and sister Susan.
In 1992, Wright won the best actress Genie Award for her role in “Bordertown Cafe”, and in 2003 nabbed the best supporting actress in a drama or miniseries statuette for her role as Dr. Fleming in TV movie “Betrayed”.
Wright went on to direct plays for major theatre companies across the country, including Ontario’s Stratford Festival.
On the big screen, Wright appeared opposite George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in “The Perfect Storm”, and starred in notable television shows such as “Dark Angel” and “The Beachcombers”.
As a tribute to the late Canadian star, CTV will re-air “Corner Gas: The Movie” on November 26.